A Story May Help Clinicians Remember Prescribing Guidelines

In a new study published online in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine, a team of Penn Medicine researchers found that physicians who heard a narrative, or story, about opioid guidelines were more likely to recall the guideline content after an hour than those who just heard a summary of the guidelines.

Patients presenting to an emergency department (ED) for  pain conditions are considered at high risk for opioid abuse. To deliver patient-centered care, emergency physicians are often challenged to quickly identify the best pain management approaches. To assist clinicians, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) published an evidence-based clinical policy in October 2012 outlining optimal pain management in the ED, including opioid prescribing. But many physicians don’t readily adopt guidelines, and with the knowledge that narratives in medicine serve as a powerful tool for translating and communicating complex ideas to patients, the Penn research tested the same approach to help doctors better recall and relate care-related protocols for prescription opioids.  Read a news story about the research here.

The journal abstract may be read here.


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